Food Sensitivities and ADHD

FoodQuestionMarkBeing with my son day in and day out and because of much of the reading I’ve done, I do feel there is some link between food and behavior. Though I don’t believe certain foods cause ADHD, I think certain foods can cause or exacerbate certain negative behaviors in some kids.

Beyond the obvious effects of sugar, which can turn your child into a bouncy, flouncy Tigger, I have also been hearing and reading a lot about food sensitivities, also called intolerances. According to Wikipedia, such intolerances can cause lots of the same symptoms as true allergies. The difference is that the symptoms of true allergies show up within a half hour after eating the offending food, whereas the effects of food intolerances are usually less severe and more chronic. Casein in milk and gluten in grains seem to be two of the biggest culprits. As a result, many parents are cutting the wheat and dairy out of their children’s diets hoping that this regimen will improve their child’s ADHD symptoms.

Though this is a good start, what if these aren’t the things a particular child is sensitive to? Or, what if they aren’t the only things? If your child has nutrition-focused pediatrician, like my son’s, then she or he should be willing to work with you. If not, I encourage you to be strong and advocate for trying different things in support of your child’s current therapies.

Working closely with your child’s doctor, according to one Purdue University study, you can both test for food sensitivities and follow an elimination diet. The guidelines for an elimination diet are found in many different books. You can either search for them in your local library, or, if you would like to purchase them, you can look here. Some of the most common foods people have sensitivities to, besides the dairy and wheat, are corn, yeast, soy, citrus, eggs, chocolate, and peanuts. Individuals might also have sensitivities to foods with high salicylates. Foods most-commonly known to contain salicylates are in the nightshade family, which include tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, and peppers.

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